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Treating a Giant Bull Elephant Named 'Tim'!

16/11/2014 20:14 GMT | Updated 16/01/2015 10:59 GMT

Rapid helicopter response with our partners KWS ensures the mighty bull elephant named 'Tim' receives emergency treatment for a deep spear wound.

It was Monday 10 November when we heard the news, Tim the famous Amboseli Tusker had a serious injury and ground teams had been unable to locate him. It is the type of news you dread, and immediately brings to mind two other mighty Tuskers of Kenya, Mountain Bull and Satao, both killed this year by poachers.

The DSWT's helicopter was requested by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to help locate Tim and within 20 minutes of the call it was airborne. KWS Vet Dr. Njoroge who heads the DSWT funded Amboseli Mobile Vet Team was collected, along with a KWS Ranger to help spot the injured bull elephant.

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Tim, a giant of Amboseli

Within 45 minutes the team had located the 45 year old elephant in thick bush. He was shepherded into a clearing by the helicopter, Dr. Njoroge prepared the anaesthetic and from his aerial vantage point safely darted Tim.

Nine minutes later Tim lay on the ground, behind him Mount Kilimanjaro, sitting framed within his enormous tusks. The team quickly got to work, treating the septic wound caused by a spear, removing dead flesh and packing the area with healing green clay.

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Safely darted, KWS Vet Dr. Njoroge quickly gets to work in treating Tim

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Cleaning out the septic spear wound and removing dead flesh

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Casting a frame around Mount Kilimanjaro

This intrusion on Tim's life took only 25 minutes; a minuscule period of time in the life of an elephant that has lived 45 years. But a critically important moment of time, for without the emergency veterinary treatment, 45 years could have been the final number for Tim.

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Post operation, Tim watches his helpers depart

Watch the video of the DSWT/KWS team treating Tim

As Tim now continues to take his mighty strides across the savannah, it affords a moment of deep reflection. There can be few greater rewards than helping one of Africa's, and the world's, great Tuskers, but one would be a decision by China to ban the sale of ivory, a trade that is decimating elephant populations. While we cannot know whether Tim's injury was the result of a poaching attempt or human-wildlife conflict, the reality is that it's in China's hands to turn the tide for elephants. To afford this intelligent, caring and environmentally critical species the level of respect, love, protection and support it deserves - in much the same way as the Panda is revered and protected in China. So for the sake of Tim and the 300,000 - 350,000 remaining elephants of Africa, and in honour of Satao, Mountain Bull and the 35,000 elephants being killed every year for their ivory, we implore the people of China and the world to please join those of us standing up for elephants, for together we truly can secure their future in the wild.

You can take action for elephants and join thousands of others in saying no to ivory at iworry

You can find out more about the DSWT's Veterinary Projects undertaken with the KWS and its Anti-Poaching Operations in Kenya at www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org